You are here

OVC brings expertise to One Health challenge

Surveillance, stewardship, innovation –these are the essence of a growing global approach to antimicrobial resistance and usage. It’s an approach that also reflects the expertise Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) researchers and veterinarians bring to this One Health challenge.

Image illustrating antimicrobial surveillance, stewardship and innovationThe college is a leader in research into resistant bacteria and genes, thanks to scientists working at the forefront of surveillance and stewardship advances. For years, OVC researchers have been involved in research into antimicrobials and their use, the epidemiology and movement of resistant bacteria, understanding antimicrobial use practices by veterinarians, and developing guidelines for practitioners and input into public policy.

OVC scientists such as Dr. Scott Weese, Pathobiology, bring their expertise to antimicrobial guideline development. The committee Weese chairs through the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases is a leader in clinical guideline development for companion animals. The guidelines are widely cited, notes Weese, with three sets published so far and more underway.

Weese, along with Dr. Patrick Boerlin, also in Pathobiology, recently received federal funding to further study how microbial resistance genes spread, the risks of infections from animals and how to prevent transmission to people. Boerlin’s studies include molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance.

Surveillance of both antimicrobial use and resistance monitoring is essential, says Dr. Scott McEwen from Population Medicine, who has worked extensively on antibiotic resistance and food safety issues with national and internationals organizations. “It helps identify trends over time, how much is being used and where, and is vital for antibiotic stewardship.”

A broad stewardship approach is vital for the prudent and effective use and conservation of antimicrobial drugs. “We are increasingly focused on all aspects of use because use drives resistance,” says Dr. John Prescott, U of G professor emeritus.

Prescott has co-chaired three national conferences on antimicrobial drug use in animals in Canada, bringing together OVC faculty, as well as collaborators from public health, industry, agriculture organizations, government and consumers. The subsequent Ad-Hoc Committee for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Canadian Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, including several OVC faculty, has continued to keep a national dialogue going.

McEwen, Prescott and Weese have been involved with task groups focusing on surveillance and stewardship as the federal and provincial governments developed a Pan-Canadian Framework on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use (Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance and Antimicrobial Use: A Pan-Canadian Framework for Action) which was released in September 2017.

Importantly, the federal government’s framework for action is a One Health approach, bringing together the animal and human side, adds Prescott. “It recognizes we need to work together to address the resistance crisis in a collaborative way.”


Nov. 13-19 is World Antibiotic Awareness Week, a World Health Organization (WHO) public health campaign aimed at increasing awareness, best practices and strategies. 

Read more on the University of Guelph website: U of G Marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Promotes Research Expertise